|From: "hewmac" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, December 20, 1999
There was a curling rink on the backroad to West Kilbride which branched off
Dalry Road Ardrossan. (near the Mill Farm) I believe the rink was opposite
and close to the underground petrol tanks that Jean mentioned when we spoke
about air-raid shelters in the three towns.
Some time ago I came across a mention of it in the 1841 census. Was there
other rinks around the three towns and surrounds? appreciate any knowledge
on this subject as Ardrossan Curling Club is reputed to have played in the
first International Curling event.
From: "Jean" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 1999
As far as I can find out the curling rink on the back road was the only one
in the three town's. Dalry had one down the public park. The curling is very
popular in the area they have it at Auchenharvie and the magnum in Irvine.
Cheers Jean Boyce Saltcoats.
Sent: Friday, December 24, 1999
Subject: [3T] Curling
This is my first real posting to your group since I expressed an interest in
I am currently vice-president/treasurer of Ardrossan Castle Curling Club and
have a fairly keen interest in its history.
I have heard stories of using the Mill Dam as an ice rink and there appears
to be many variations as to it's exact location. Also it appears that after
one particular session (where the participants perhaps got a little "tired
and emotional" due to the properties of the liquid they were consuming) the
stones were left on the ice in anticipation of another days curling.
Unfortunately, a rapid thaw took place and the stones ended up at the bottom
of the reservoir in thick mud and are still there to this day.
There was another club in Ardrossan called the "ALMA", and I believe it
ceased around the turn of the century. They used an area of ground behind
South Crescent Road between what is now the bowling club and the bottom of
Castle Hill. This was hard or tarmacadam ground that was flooded at
appropriate times and clubs were sent postcards on the mornings of when the
ice was good. Apparently there were three postal deliveries in those days
(on the same day of posting!!) and local clubs could be curling by noon that
The ALMA club only came to my knowledge only recently because Ardrossan
Castle were given (or took over) their prizes and one particular medal which
(as far as we can determine) was in our possession but not played for,
turned up for sale at a sports memorabilia auction. It was spotted by a
local Sherriff (The renowned David Buchanan Smith - a curler and fanatical
collector) who reckoned that it was stolen and stopped the sale. Cutting a
long story short, we entered into negotiation with the owner and came to a
compromise agreement where we got the medal back in exchange for part of its
There is also an area on the Great Cumbrae behind Millport that can be
flooded to provide ice and this was used about three years ago to great
effect. Sadly, I missed the occasion but saw a video recording of the day
and it looked great fun.
I can't comment on global warming or climatic changes but it would appear
that the days of the long hard frosts are fewer and further between and the
chances of me getting my father's original stones out for an outdoor event
I'd be delighted to research more information for you and the group and you
may use this as you see fit but please indicate that it is just the story as
I have heard and not hard fact.
Sent: Friday, December 24, 1999
Follow up to previous email.
I forgot to answer one question.
I recently played in what is reputed to be the oldest 'International'
curling competition in existence. That is between Ardrossan Castle Curling
Club and the 'Irish Curling
This was played for many years in the late nineteenth century between the
above mentioned clubs and then a break of 80 odd years occurred before its
resurrection about 7 or 8 years ago. We now play for the original medal
mounted in a wooden trophy depicting a stone and sail (to signify the
crossing of the water) once a year between ACCC and Irish players resident
in Scotland. We believe it is genuinely the oldest competition still running
(albeit with a large break) and I reckon there's an element of doubt from
the Royal Caledonian Curling Club but it's good fun and played in the nature
that it should be.
Once again, please feel free to pass this on and if you need further
research please don't hesitate to get back to me.
From: Hugh McCallum
Sent: Saturday, December 25, 1999
Really enjoyed your post relating the game of Curling. I recall the tarmac
area you say was used as a curling rink at Ardrossan. I remember passing
through that sunken area on the way to the Cubs / Boy scouts clubhouse which
was just along from the bowling club - that was some fifty years ago! I had
no idea that's what that area was used for. James Taylor a local historian
wrote me on the same subject and is in accord with you. In the book "Old
Ardrossan" there is a turn of the century photograph of the Mill Curling
Pond, the caption states it's situated between Mill and Rashley Farms.